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One Video: Wreath by Perfume Genius

One Video: Wreath by Perfume Genius


Don’t be sad, dance in a graveyard

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Every week, a slew of new music videos hits the web. Watching them at your desk is not time theft because you deserve it; think of it as a nice reward for surviving another work week. But what if you don’t have time to watch every video — maybe you have a deadline, a hungry pet, or other grown-up concerns. In consideration of your schedule, Lizzie and Kaitlyn bring you a series called One Video. Each week we’ll tell you “one video” you need to watch, why, and for how long.

This week’s video: “Wreath” by Perfume Genius

Kaitlyn: Sometimes you have to look around you and admit that the pickings are slim: a video where Fergie is singing in a weird new whispery Britney voice and Kendall Jenner appears to be starring in a TJ Maxx ad. An entry for the My Little Pony: The Movie official soundtrack. A thing that starts off cool, like a sequence from an unreleased Dodge Charger-sponsored Step Up installment, but then gets boring. No, thank you.

Other times you have to look around you and realize the pickings are limitless, which is how you’ll feel watching this week’s choice for One Video.

Lizzie: To me, the “limitless” aspect of this week’s video is due to the fact that it’s like 37 videos collaged into one. I know that 37 is not a limitless number, and in fact the limit is very clearly defined as 37, but in comparison to the aforementioned “slim” pickings, 37 feels limitless. Got it?

Who is Perfume Genius?

Kaitlyn: Perfume Genius is the stage name of a singer from Seattle named Mike Hadreas. He picked out that name when he was setting up a Myspace for his music in 2008. He has released four albums and the most recent one, No Shape, came out in May. It’s not your fault if you missed it, as I think essentially every person I spoke to all summer was unable to discuss this album without crying, because it is pretty much an anti-cynicism atom bomb. The final track, a lullaby for Hadreas’ longtime partner Alan Wyffels, has a chorus that goes like this:

“You need me / Rest easy

I'm here / How weird”

In her review for Pitchfork, Laura Snapes wrote, “Being present and being loved is the best anyone can hope for. For some people, it’s so much more than they could ever have expected.”

Lizzie: I’m crying!

On a lighter note, Hadreas also has a truly spectacular Twitter account which he clearly runs himself. It’s funny and kind and also has some celeb commentary.

What’s special about “Wreath” by Perfume Genius:

Kaitlyn: The video is made up entirely of fan-submitted footage of people dancing, lip-synching, or executing simple acrobatics to the tune of Perfume Genius’ “Wreath.” Fans danced in the street, in graveyards, in ponds, on roofs, in kitchens, and on each other. In general, I am cynical about artists and brands asking fans to submit free content that will then be monetized. But this was in support of a song with a chorus where Hadreas says, in a lilting kazoo voice that makes it sound like he is being tickled but not too hard, “I wanna hover with no shape.”

I have forgotten about cynicism and barely remember what the word means!

Lizzie: Some of the fans, like a boy with painstakingly applied fish scales on his forehead, or the boy in denim cutoffs twirling in a bar bathroom, really seem to have spent a lot of time considering their look and location, while some chose to dance in their bedrooms, and it seems like about 50 percent ended up in a big green field.

It’s nostalgic and goofy to watch a young girl dancing like an interpretive windmill in a graveyard. Of course she decided to film her bit in the cemetery! It’s a rite of teen passage to celebrate your youth surrounded by memorials of dead people.

How long everyone should watch “Wreath” by Perfume Genius:

Kaitlyn: It’s been awhile since we’ve said “all of it.” All of it.

Lizzie: You know we love choreography, and the choreography never stops in this video. I wouldn’t want you to miss that move at the end.